Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Does anyone else think this is totally insane?

From Email Insider:

A recent In-Box Insiders discussion was whether a click on the unsubscribe link in an email should be included in the response rate calculation, as would a click on a product link. While most agreed that this negative action should not be counted as a positive, S-------- M----,* vice president of strategic services for R----- P---, made this excellent point: "I don't think unsubscribes are negative. They are simply feedback -- and as such, are positive in that they are actionable for marketers who care about creating solid subscriber experiences. There are lots of reasons why someone wants off the list, and usually it's an indication of relevancy."
I'm sorry, but if you ask me, this is NOT an "excellent point"--it's a bunch of babble, with a dash of irrational optimism thrown in for good measure. Let's be honest: an unsubscribe is someone telling you they no longer want to hear from you. Sure, it's "feedback"--but only in the sense described under definition #3 here. To call it anything but a "negative action" is just plain nuts.

We marketers should stop kidding ourselves. People don't always want to hear from us. They don't always want to buy our stuff. And sometimes an unsubscribe is just their way of telling us that. By trying to put a happy face on it, we're doing ourselves a huge disservice.

If you take an honest look at yourself as a consumer, you'll realize that marketing can sometimes be obtrusive. No big surprise there. The key is to be objective enough to not propagate the types of messages that encourage unsubscribes, while also realizing that even the most well-crafted message is not always going to receive a positive response. We're in the business of marketing to people who don't always want to be marketed to. Sure, that makes our job difficult, but ignoring that fact only makes our job more difficult.

*Name redacted, because this is about the sentiment, not the person. Ye who hath never said something stupid in the name of marketing, cast the first stone. Yeah, I thought not.

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